I loved this movie even more that I thought I would. This is pure fun, the best movie I’ve ever seen in theaters, without a doubt (Though my theater movie list isn’t that impressive). If you didn’t enjoy this, we like movies for very different reasons (which is fine, but I mean, VERY different reasons). I would of loved it even if I wasn’t such a Tintin fan, but that’s definetely icing on the cake.
Several exciting apotheoses herein of the Rube-Goldberg-machine-style sequences of cause and effect that Verbinski’s been trying to construct for a decade. Felt HUGO strove to be about machines that were supposed to have some heart to them. But TINTIN was a machine with heart.
It’s true. With cameras disconnected from the requirements of physics, filmmakers can create long cause and effect sequences worthy of the ship-crash scene in The City of Lost Children or the door-opening mechanism in The Goonies or whatever without cuts and with more variables. It’s REALLY AWESOME.
I saw this yesterday. Here are some comments especially as they related to DiB’s first post.
First, let me mention some of the positives:
1. Some of sequences are really terrific. The case scene is really exhilarating and one of Spielberg’s best! In some ways it’s a little hard to follow, but it’s so fun and exciting—partly because it’s so complicated and difficult to pull off. (Yes, it’s over-the-top, but it fits with the film.) I also liked the concept and execution of the “crane fight.” When DiB called this Spielberg’s “masterpiece,” if he had these scenes in mind, I can sympathize with the claim (but I don’t really agree with it).
2. I loved the opening credits—the music, the use of 3D and the overall look.
3. DiB mentioned the “surreality” of the film (i.e., weird transitions between the scenes). I also loved this aspect of the film.
4. The film doesn’t have that schmaltzy family themes that plague most of Spielberg’s films. (Thank you!)
Now for some less than positive comments:
I found the earlier parts of the film a little bland. I think several factors contributed to this. The story wasn’t very interesting for one thing. More importantly, imo, the characters weren’t that interesting, either. I never read the Tin Tin comics, but I found the character pretty dull. Compare him to someone like Indiana Jones or Miyazaki’s Lupin character and it’s not even close, imo. (Both are apt comparisons because this film is in a similar vein to those others.) The fact that Indiana Jones is way more appealing, by itself, makes Raiders a better film than this one, imo.
I also didn’t really care for the animation of Tin Tin. Imo, the filmmakers should have tried to make him more cartoonish, rather than realistic. Think of the way Pixar drew the characters in The Incredibles, versus the way they drew the humans in the Toy Story films.
I also thought Captain Haddock’s story was the heart of the film or the more interesting part of the film, anyway. (The pirate sequences were also fun.) Tin Tin almost seemed like an excuse to tell Haddock’s story.
Your last point is one of the reasons the film didn’t work for me—the main character, TIntin, has little conflict because his only motivation for going on the adventure is because he wants to. Haddock has all the motivation in the film.
In the same way the MacGuffin draws an audience in to the real plot with an otherwise unnecessary question, Tintin is one of those characters that always finds himself in a story in media res. It’s a traditional storytelling method and I’m not really understanding the issue with it. Yes: Haddock has the motivation. And Tintin is telling the story, the same way Gatsby has the motivation but we sit in Nick’s sweaty suit all book.
Well, I just never engaged with the film so I’m looking for reasons why. Maybe it was just what I had for breakfast that day.
Well the tone of it is very “Alright you’re in this let’s go!” and so yes, some audiences like to have some time to get acquainted and take a look around.
But are we not supposed to care about Tin Tin—what happens to him, etc.? He’s the adventure hero in this action-adventure tale, isn’t he? Not caring or really liking him weakens all the suspense and action sequences. Yes, there are action sequences with Haddock, but there’s quite a bit with Tin Tin, too. So, I think we need to like and care about Tin Tin for this film to be really effective.
The limitations of the Tintin character are inherent to the source material. He was always just a “good guy” cipher.
Jazz: I never read the Tin Tin comics, but I found the character pretty dull. Compare him to someone like Indiana Jones or Miyazaki’s Lupin character and it’s not even close, imo. (Both are apt comparisons because this film is in a similar vein to those others.) The fact that Indiana Jones is way more appealing, by itself, makes Raiders a better film than this one, imo.
The character of Tintin is specifically neutral and cryptic; he has no past, no family, no responsibilities, no sexual inclination, no specific age, no political ideology (generally speaking), no strong opinions, and nothing to distinguish him as a unique individual… apart from his insatiable thirst for adventure and his unusual name, which is perhaps also symbolic of this notion of ambiguity:
Paul LaFarge: Tintin was a word before it was a name; it means ‘nothing,’ and the phrase faire tintin loosely means “to go without.” Hergé’s boy reporter does not bear the name by accident.
Also, from the wiki: Scott McCloud notes that Tintin’s personality (or lack thereof) “allows readers to mask themselves in a character and safely enter a sensually stimulating world.”
Jazz: But are we not supposed to care about Tin Tin—what happens to him, etc.?
No. You’re supposed to “assume his position within the story”, so to speak.
I’m not sure how you arrived at the notion that Indiana Jones is a more appealing character than Tintin, but I’d personally disagree that one character is more appealing than the other. I’ve been reading the Tintin comics since I was a small child, and I’ve also been watching the Indiana Jones movies since I was a child; I can’t really say that one of the protagonists is necessarily more appealing to me than the other.
As for this particular cinematic adaption, I enjoyed the occasional surrealism and the overall story line, but I disliked the over-the-top action sequences (such as the crane fight and the Bagghar chase scene) and the uncanny CGI. Sure, the CGI allows for more fantasic camera movements which are physically impossible ordinarily, but to be honest this aspect of the film also failed to impress me aesthetically – sometimes, outlandish camera movements can actually be cumbersome to the expression of the story, and can thus “take you out” of the created universe. I found that to be the case when I viewed this film.
Well, just didn’t work for me—and I’m not sure type of approach ever worked in an action/adventure. For this to work, I think I would have to share some significant similarities with the character (e.g., age, gender, specific personal traits, etc.)
Btw, I listened to a radio interview about the Tintin character, and the expert spoke about the way Tintin was supposed to embody qualities and values that Herge really admired and wished to possess. They also spoke about the way that Tintin is super resourceful and clever, having the ability to get out of tough situations. This made me think that the filmmakers could have spent more time establishing these qualities of the character. The film does little of this and seems to be more for people who are already familiar with the character.
I’m not sure how you arrived at the notion that Indiana Jones is a more appealing character than Tintin,…
He’s interesting for the way his character combines an academic archaeologist and tough, cocky adventurer. Then there’s the look—the fedora, leather jacket and the bullwhip, which he uses in clever ways. Miyazaki’s Lupin also provides a lot of humor and silly over-the-top moments. Plus, there’s all his cool gadgets and clever ways he gets out of problems.
…but I disliked the over-the-top action sequences (such as the crane fight and the Bagghar chase scene)…
Oh man, these were my favorite sequences in the film. While waiting to see another film, I snuck into a Tintin screening and caught the chase scene again—and I loved it. It’s so much fun, and I really do think it’s one of Spielberg’s best moments in film. I think the scene works because the film is a literally a cartoon.
“This made me think that the filmmakers could have spent more time establishing these qualities of the character.”
Like the fact that he doesn’t automatically just sell the model ship since the very idea that people are immediately valuing it is intriguing, his immediate investigation into the library, his always searching around the environment for clues, tools, escape routes, and plans, other character’s dependence on him for strategies, and Snowball the sidekick’s unspoken abilities of same?
Jazz: Well, just didn’t work for me—and I’m not sure type of approach ever worked in an action/adventure.
Have you ever played the Monkey Island adventure computer games? This is a good example where it sort of works that way, because even though the protagonist does have a personality to some extent, it’s still a fairly bland one overall i.e. an Average Joe kind of character who a lot of people can relate to, and thus can “step into his shoes” during the adventure.
Also, as DiB points out, I think that there’s plenty in the Spielberg film which suggests Tintin’s resourcefulness/cleverness and thirst for adventure… but perhaps a fan of the comics such as myself is biased to some extent, heh.
As for the notion of Tintin not being an appealing character, probably for me the character is more appealing in the comics than in the Spielberg film, to the extent that I’d like to be him or at least I’d like to be in his situation in the comics. I guess this is because there was a much wider scope in the comics (24 albums) for the character to be engaged in all kinds of exotic adventures with various characters – the wacky characters such as Professor Calculus (who is absent from the Spielberg film) provide alternate character elements to reflect off of Tintin’s “Everyman” persona over the course of the series… but within a single 2-hour film, you wouldn’t want to cram in too many characters or else it may become confusing.
In other words, I can quite easily “assume Tintin’s position within the story” whenever I read the Tintin comics, and thus the character is appealing to me to that extent (because I’d like to be in his situation).
Like the fact that he doesn’t automatically just sell the model ship since the very idea that people are immediately valuing it is intriguing…
Hmm, I guess this didn’t really work for me. The details seem as much a contrivance for starting an adventure/mystery as much as establishing his character. Besides, the interview mentions his moral character as well as his cleverness for getting out of tough situations. I don’t think the film really establish his moral character at all, not in the early scenes anyway.
As for his resourcefulness, I’m thinking of some situation or scenes that would indicate that he has the ability to get out of tough situations—before the actual action starts happening.
Have you ever played the Monkey Island adventure computer games?
No, I haven’t. But playing a video game and watching a film are pretty different, don’t you think? I generally relate to the avatar I’m using in a video game, for obvious reasons, I think, but that’s not necessarily the case in a film. The former occurs almost naturally, while the film must “exert effort” to get me to identify and care about the character.
I’m thinking of establishing these traits before the action and adventure really begin. Btw, to what extent do you think your enjoyment of the film stems from your prior knowledge of the character? That’s probably a difficult question to answer, but in my experience I think I tend to fill in the blanks left by screen adaptations of books that I really like; so what might be flaws or gaps for someone else, isn’t necessarily the case for me (or at least I don’t notice it).
…the wacky characters such as Professor Calculus (who is absent from the Spielberg film) provide alternate character elements to reflect off of Tintin’s “Everyman” persona over the course of the series… but within a single 2-hour film, you wouldn’t want to cram in too many characters or else it may become confusing.
Right. There’s no way a two hour film is going to contain the richness of a comic that has been going on for a while. Btw, in the interview I mentioned, the expert mentioned that while Tintin represented everything that Helge admired, Captain Haddock represented a darker, more human side. I thought that dynamic was interesting, but I don’t think the film really fleshed this out very well.